In a groundbreaking achievement for the culinary world, Adejoke Bakare, a Nigerian-born chef based in the UK, has carved her name in history as the UK’s first black female chef to receive a Michelin star. Her restaurant, Chishuru, located in London’s Fitzrovia, specializes in West African cuisine and has been recognized for its exceptional cooking less than six months after securing a permanent spot. This accolade marks a significant milestone, not only for Bakare but for the promotion of West African cuisine in the global culinary scene.
“We’re [at] the forefront of West African food, and there’s still much more to do, so we focus on that … and just build and grow that way. In many ways, being an independent restaurateur and chef is incredibly liberating. We make our own rules, we answer to no one, we do our own thing. As a black female chef, I’m not totally sure I could have done it any other way.” – Adejoke Bakare to The Guardian
Chishuru, which began as a pop-up in Brixton Village, quickly made waves across London with its innovative take on West African dishes. The Michelin Guide’s chief inspector praised Bakare’s unique style and the vibrant, life-filled atmosphere her cooking brings to the restaurant scene. Chishuru met the Michelin star’s criteria with distinction, awarded for ingredient quality, flavour mastery, technique, and the chef’s personality expressed through their cuisine.
Bakare’s culinary journey is as rich and diverse as the dishes she creates. Born to Yoruba and Igbo parents and raised in Hausa territory, her cooking celebrates Nigeria’s multifaceted culture. Despite initial advice to pursue more conventional career paths, Bakare’s passion for cooking fostered from a young age, led her to the UK to chase her culinary dreams. Her commitment to showcasing West African flavours has now positioned her and Chishuru at the forefront of introducing this cuisine to an international audience.
Chishuru’s success and Bakare’s historic win underscore the growing appreciation for the depth and diversity of West African cuisine. With dishes that invite diners on a voyage of discovery, Bakare has managed to create a space where guests can experience new flavours and stories through food. Her achievement testifies to the culinary world’s evolving landscape, celebrating diversity and authenticity.
“Until this morning, I was just focused on enjoying the accolade itself, which I’m hugely honoured by. But seeing reactions on social media today, I’m starting to feel a weight of responsibility on my shoulders too; it’s lovely.” – Adejoke Bakare to The Guardian
This recognition by the Michelin Guide is not just a personal victory for Bakare but a moment of pride for West African cuisine. It highlights the potential for further growth and acceptance of African culinary traditions on the global stage. As Chishuru continues to thrive, Bakare’s story inspires aspiring chefs and reaffirms the importance of staying true to one’s roots and passions.